Methods to the Madness: Creating a Citation From a Reference Entry

Last updated 5/6/2020


Visual: Screen opens to a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The title Walden University Writing Center and tagline “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears on the screen. The screen changes to show the series title “Methods to the APA Madness” and the video title “Creating a Citation From a Reference Entry.”

Audio: Guitar music


Visual: Slide changes to slide titled “Referenceà Citation” at top. Slide contains the following:

Oyo, B. & Kalema, B.M. (2014). Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 15(6), 1–13.

  • Narrative: Oyo and Kalema (2014) noted, “today massive open online courses are becoming increasingly popular, with 20% more use in the last year alone” (p. 5)
  • Parenthetical: In Africa, massive online courses are currently popular (Oyo & Kalema, 2014).

Audio: Not only do you need to know how to create a reference entry for a source, but a useful skill is learning how to create a subsequent citation for a source from that entry, which is what we’ll demonstrate here. What I’ll do first is look at my reference entry because once you have your reference entry created, you can easily create a citation. From this entry, I know immediately that I’m going to include this author information and the publication year in my citation. Because I already have this information handy in my reference entry, I don’t have to search through the article to find it, I’m ready to create my citation right away.  

So taking that author and year information, here are my citation examples. We have our two authors listed, our publication year, our quote, and then the page number, which is something I needed to pull separately from the source, but if I’m taking good notes and including page numbers in my notes, that’s easy to find as well.

You’ll see that I have a second example, this time of a paraphrase. In this case, I’ve also included the authors and the year, but I’ve left out the page number because that information is optional when citing a paraphrase.

One formatting note in particular here is that in APA, we’ll list the authors a little bit differently depending on what kind of citation we’re using. In the example of the quotation, I’ve used what we call a narrative citation, and in narrative citations we write out “and” to list the authors. In the example of the paraphrase, I’ve used what we call a parenthetical citation, in which we use an ampersand to list the authors. A trick for remembering this rule for citations is that we only use the ampersand within parentheses since it’s not a part of the formal part of the sentence.

And that’s it! That’s how easy it is to create citations from a reference entry.


Visual: The screen changes to an ending slide with slide a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The email address appears on the screen.